In any medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must prove that the doctor has not met the standard of care that any other physician in that situation would have used. But what if that standard of care is less than the care that a physician should meet in a certain situation? This was the question in a recent case that involved a Texas woman and her unborn child.
The facts of the case began when the woman gave birth to her first child and, at the suggestion of her doctor, had a caesarian section. She had her next three children by the same method.
After the last birth, she began to have gynecological issues. Her doctor suggested a permanent form of birth control, tubal ligation and uterine ablation, to address her problems. She agreed, knowing that it was probably the best choice, but also lamenting the fact that she could have no more children.
Before surgery, she was given a pregnancy test to make sure that she wasn’t currently pregnant. The urine test was negative, so the surgery proceeded. About a month after surgery, she was suffering from nausea and constipation to the point that she visited the emergency room. She was given medication for those symptoms and sent home.
Within a few months, she had gained a significant amount of weight and was still suffering from the same symptoms. After started to bleed heavily again, she went to her gynecologist and was told that she was pregnant with a 19-week-old boy. Her joy was short-lived because doctors could not see her cervix on ultrasound and MRI images, and she was told that she needed to go ahead and have the baby via caesarian section. She had a condition called placenta percreta, which means that it had grown through her uterus and attached to other organ. The baby didn’t survive and the mother also had major complications.
The bottom line is that, because she had a urine test rather than a blood test before her surgery, her pregnancy was not detected. The urine test was the proper “standard of care” in that situation.
Sometimes the law can be changed. A court tomorrow could change what is the proper standard of care today. Yours could be the case that changes it. Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice cases to evaluate whether the circumstances of your case warrant that effort to protect other potential victims.
Source: Victoria Advocate, “Mother seeks new medical standard after son’s death,” Laura Garcia, Sept. 5, 2015